HC Deb 04 May 1864 vol 175 cc12-6

Order for Committee read.


said, that the House was entitled to some explanation of the objects of the Bill.


said, that he had, on a former occasion, made a long statement to the House in explanation of the objects of the Bill, and his only desire was; to save tiring hon. Members with a, repetition. On that occasion the hon. and gallant Member for Roscommon (Colonel French) was unfortunately absent. The Bill was of a permissive character, and sought to facilitate the redemption of Chief Rents in Ireland without necessitating the expensive course that was now necessary.

Bill considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)


said, that this Bill was to introduce into Ireland the recognition of limited interests in property, not at present recognized by the law of England. He considered it undesirable that there should be different legislation in this country and in Ireland, and he therefore suggested that the provisions of the Bill should be extended to England.


expressed a hope that the Bill would not be subjected to any unnecessary delay, as any measure winch would simplify the management of property in Ireland would be attended with great benefit. The Bill would make a great improvement in the law of Ireland, and he could see no reason why it should not be passed into law.


said, that the fourth clause of the Bill gave the power to any possessor of a head rent to sell it to the person in possession of the land, and to the person in possession of the land to buy it, and to make it a charge upon his successor. He thought that would be very objectionable, and considered the Bill wholly unnecessary.


said, the Bill was a permissive one, and was much required. He wished it were compulsory, as great good would be effected by it.


said, he thought that a Bill of such importance ought, to have been introduced by the Government and not by a private Member. If it would be good for Ireland it ought to be good for England, and as it was the tendency of the day to assimilate the law of the two countries, a Bill of this importance should be in the hands of the Government, and ought not to be brought forward without an expression of opinion on the part of the Irish Law Officers. It was a permissive Bill, and it was found that permissive Bills were generally inoperative in Ireland. He hoped that if it were passed it would be confined to perpetuities, and would not be extended to leases for a term of years; and provision would be made to prevent life tenants of the head rent and the land from acting in a fraudulent manner.


said that, in his opinion, in the proposed and similar legislation, property in Ireland had been hardly dealt with; in fact, he looked upon the Incumbered Estates Act as robbery by Act of Parliament. However, the greatest objection he had to the present measure was that it would be entirely useless, and would lead to greater complications and difficulties than at present existed. If there were any necessity for such a measure it ought to be taken up by the Government, and not left in the hands of a private Member. He begged to move that the Chairman do report Progress.


expressed a hope that that Motion would not be agreed to. The arguments of his hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Roscommon (Colonel French) were about the most absurd he had ever listened to, and, in fact, were founded on complete ignorance. As to making that Act applicable to England as well as Ireland, it was forgotten that the whole law of landlord and tenant in Ireland was entirely different from that of England; and the present Bill, necessary though it was for Ireland, was, therefore, not suitable for England. He was quite willing to adopt any Amendment that might be suggested to protect remaindermen against fraud.


said, that this was a very singular Bill, for there was not a word in it alluding to the rights of the remainder-men. He thought the mistake was, that notwithstanding the promise given by his hon. Friend (Mr. Longfield); on a former occasion, that he would re-consider the objectionable clauses, they were left in precisely the same condition. Every disinterested person with whom he had conversed on the subject held, that to pass that Bill would be to open the door to unlimited fraud in Ireland; and if the hon. and gallant Member for Roscommon (Colonel French) should carry his Motion to a division, he would support him.


said, he rather suspected that it was the intention of the authors of the Bill to proceed by degrees to the abolition of small settlements in Ireland, pursuing the principle of the Incumbered Estates Act, which he looked upon with great dislike. If the Bill were not a dangerous one, it ought to be extended to this country. He should support the Motion that the Chairman do report Progress.


said, he had been opposed to the Bill at first, but on examining its provisions, and referring to high legal authorities, he felt bound to say that his opinion had changed, and that he now believed the measure would be very innocuous, which might be of use in many instances, and he should now support its general principles.


said, that the reason he had not re-considered the objectionable clauses was, that he had not had time since he gave his promise.

Motion made, and Question put, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—(Colonel French).

The Committee divided: — Ayes 29; Noes 57: Majority 28.

Clause 1 (Explanation of Terms).


begged to move the insertion of words, in order to confine the operation of the Bill to perpetuities, subject to annual fee-farm rents.


said, he could not understand the Amendment, because fee-simple properties paid no rent.


said, the object of the Amendment was quite clear and right—to confirm the operation of the Bill to perpetuities subject to yearly fee-farm rents, and not to let it apply to leases for lives or for short terms of years (two hundred) which the Bill did as it then stood.


said, he now understood the object of the Amendment, but the words proposed by the hon. Baronet the Member for Dublin (Sir Edward Grogan) did not bear the meaning intended. However, it went to the principle of the Bill, and he hoped the Committee would not agree to it.


said, that he had stated before that he thought the Bill would be unsatisfactory unless it were radically changed; but he believed its principle, if carefully guarded, would be innocuous, and might be to some extent beneficial, provided better protection were afforded to the interests of remaindermen.


said, he would support the Amendment, as erring, if erring at all, on the safe side.

Amendment negatived.


begged to move the insertion of words extending the definition of "persons" so as to include any "bodies corporate, aggregate, or sole."

Amendment agreed to.

Clause added to the Bill.

Clause 2 (Enabling the Owner of the Land and the Owner of the Rent to agree for the Redemption of such Rent) agreed to.

Clause 3 (Providing for the Application of the Price of the Redemption).


begged to move the insertion of words requiring money paid for the redemption of rents to be paid "to trustees appointed by the deed or instrument whereby the estate or interest of such owner of such rent shall be limited."


said, he accepted the Amendment as an improvement on the measure.

Amendment agreed to, with the addition of the words, "or to be appointed, where necessary, by the Landed Estates Court."

Clause agreed to.

Clause 4, struck out. Clauses 5, 6, and 7 agreed to.

Clauses 8 and 9 struck out. Clauses 10 and 11 agreed to.

House resumed.

Committee report Progress; to sit again on Monday next.